It's no secret that the egg shortage has taken a real toll on the cost of the formerly inexpensive protein source. Many people have taken to chicken egg substitutes like Costco's duck and quail eggs or have maybe even stopped buying eggs altogether. However, some people seem to be taking the egg shortage into their own hands by buying their own chickens to secure a supply of the now delicacy.
An article by The New York Times states that hatcheries from around the United States are reporting the demand for chicks is especially high this year — and they are struggling to keep up. "We're already sold out on a lot of breeds — most breeds — until the summer," Meghan Howard of Meyer Hatchery told The Times. "It's those egg prices. People are really concerned about food security."
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But will raising your own chickens be cheaper than buying eggs at the inflated price? Wirecutter says no. While raising chickens can be a very rewarding feat, there are a lot of overhead costs to take into consideration such as feeders, medical supplies, and bedding, among others. For example, a chicken coop can cost upwards of $300 (give or take), plus chicken feed has also gone up in price due to inflation.
Chickens don't lay eggs until around six months old, and even then, it's recommended to get a new batch of chicks each year. Doug Mahoney of Wirecutter (and hen owner) estimates that in order to break operating costs, you would need to keep at least 20-30 hens at once, plus sell some of their eggs for at least $5 per dozen.
While the quality of the eggs and the joy of being a pet parent are certainly valuable, being a chicken owner just may not be for everyone — and that's okay. Here's to hoping inflation gives us a bit of a breather soon, but only time will tell.